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The Sundance Institute effectively filled out its slate for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival with the announcement of the always star-friendly premieres category. It's also where many former Sundance filmmakers bring their second, third and even fourth films back to the fest. This year the category features 16 world premieres and almost all of them are from Sundance alumni, including Ryan Fleck ("Half Nelson"), Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale"), Joe Swanberg ("VHS"), Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite"), James Ponsoldt ("The Spectacular Now"), Michael Almereyda (2000's "Hamlet"), Rodrigo Garcia ("Nine Lives"), Benson Lee ("Miss Monday"), Leslye Headland ("Bachelorette"), and Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman ("American Splendor"). Some of the intriguing titles include Paul Weitz's "Grandma" with Lily Tomlin and Laverne Cox, Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden's "Mississippi Grind" with Ryan Reynolds and Sienna Miller, Garcia's "Last Days in the Desert" featuring Ewan McGregor as Jesus, Charles Stone III's "Lila »
- Gregory Ellwood
Who can forget 2003 when filmmaker-duo Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini landed at Sundance with a highly inventive biopic, a seminal film really in the indie film cannon. Featuring the debatably unlikeable Clevelander Harvey Pekar, American Splendor moved put the pair on a pedestal, and while they’ve been back to Sundance for The Extra Man (’10), they’ve pretty much stuck to commercial indie items in The Nanny Diaries (07), Cinema Verite – HBO ’11, and Girl Most Likely (aka Imogene) ’12. Starring Asa Butterfield, Ethan Hawke, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, Emily Mortimer and Julianne Nicholson, production began way back at the end of January on Ten Thousand Saints, which comes with a built-in fanbase due to the novel on which it is based on. Should be a high value sales item if included.
- Eric Lavallee
This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacob Semahn, the writer on the upcoming supernatural mystery series Goners from Image Comics. Before working on Goners, Semahn was a producer on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. He is currently working in animation for Man of Action and has written screenplays for Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-Man shows. The basic premise of Goners (from the Image Comics solicit) is a “bold new historical fantasy mystery about a very peculiar family, the Latimer Family, who have been humanity’s lone defense against paranormal assault throughout history”.
Sound on Sight: What got you interested in the comics medium? What was the first comic that you remember reading?
Jacob Semahn: The first comic I ever read was Infinity War #1. I picked it up at 7/11 when I was a kid. I think I might have been nine, »
- Logan Dalton
Dark Horse, the elder statesman of independent comics, continues to show no signs of slowing down during this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Even though Marvel now holds the rights to Star Wars, its biggest licensed comics property, Dark Horse struck back by announcing a several creator owned titles in different genres as well as an expansion to the Mignolaverse and a sequel to one of the most beloved novels of the past century. Dark Horse also won some Eisners in a wide variety of categories showing the company’s comics appeal to many types of readers from kids to people who wouldn’t normally read comics.
1. Hellboy and the Bprd Miniseries
Even though Batman has gotten most of the publicity, another comics character is celebrating a big anniversary. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Hellboy’s first appearance in the Seed of Destruction miniseries by Mike Mignola and scripted by John Byrne. »
- Logan Dalton
Sassy back-talking thieves, faux-new-age witticisms, snarky realty agents, and overly-ambitious homosexual couples: Such Good People has it all. With an endless list of celebrity guest stars and an adorably spunky main cast, Such Good People is an upcoming comedy about a cat-and-mouse hunt for buttloads of cash. The indie flick will be debuting at the Majestic Crest in Los Angeles on July 7th.
The film stars Michael Urie (of Ugly Betty fame) and Randy Harrison (best known for his role on Queer as Folk) in what is being touted as the first post-marriage-equality comedy. The veritably endless supporting cast includes: Scott Wolf (Party of Five, Perception), Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids, Ugly Betty), Carrie Wiita (Super Fun Night), Rick Overton (Groundhog Day), Tom Lenk (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Cabin in the Woods), musician and activist Lance Bass, Alec Mapa (Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, Switched at Birth), Drew Droege (Sassy Pants, »
- Eric Shorey
The onslaught of adaptations of Young Adult fiction continues with The D.U.F.F – an upcoming movie from CBS Films, which has just added award-winning Allison Janney to its cast. Based on the debut novel of author Kody Keplinger, the film has Academy Award winner Ari Sandel (Aim High) on board to direct, from a screenplay penned by Josh A. Cagan (Undergrads).
With Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) in the lead role, the story sees a high school senior devastated as her happy world is shaken by the realization that her fellow students routinely refer to her as The D.U.F.F (Designated Ugly Fat Friend to pretty students). Incensed, she drafts in the help of a male friend (Robbie Amell from The Tomorrow People) to aid in her personal reinvention, as she moves to undermine the school’s ruthless label maker (Bella Thorne from Blended).
The cast also »
- Sarah Myles
It has been a very interesting time for the FX Network, hasn’t it? Veteran dramas Justified and Sons Of Anarchy have continued to thrive over the years, with the latter show approaching its seventh season. Meanwhile, other series such as The Americans, Louie and Archer are genuine critical success stories, with The Americans receiving high praise for its latest season. The cable network does not look to be slowing down anytime soon, either, as the well-received Fargo wraps up its debut season and upcoming shows like The Strain and Tyrant are getting some pretty solid buzz as well. Unfortunately, there is one promising TV drama pilot that FX has decided to move on from.
That drama pilot is Hoke, which starred Paul Giamatti as Hoke Moseley, a hardboiled and “possibly insane” homicide detective living in the world of pre-chic Miami during the early-1980s. The show was to be »
- Ken Guidry
Ted Hope doesn't sit still for very long, The veteran indie producer ("American Splendor," "The Ice Storm," "In the Bedroom") is reinventing himself --and Hollywood--yet again as he leaves the San Francisco Film Society to take the reins as CEO of online video-on-demand service Fandor. He's also publishing a Soft Skull book on August 12, Hope for Film: From the Frontlines of the Independent Cinema Revolutions, and launching a six-part interactive web series “Reinvent Hollywood.” On his quest for a new economic model for distributing independent film and engaging cinephiles in an interactive community, the Good Machine co-founder sees Fandor as an exciting opportunity to play out his ideas. Hence the new web series. These days, as the rules of the game are constantly changing, both studio and indie talent are scrambling to understand how to engage. Hope asks: If you could redesign the film industry into the best possible system. »
- Anne Thompson
“Burning Bush,” a drama set against the backdrop of the Prague Spring and subsequent Soviet crackdown, will debut on streaming platforms on the same day it opens theatrically.
The picture bows on June 11, 2014 and will play at New York City’s Film Forum, while also being made available on subscription site Fandor. It will be available for streaming nationwide on the film service, except in the New York metropolitan area while it completes its engagement at the Film Forum.
Kino Lorber nabbed rights to the film after it screened last year at the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Directed by Oscar-nominee Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa”), the sprawling, 234-minute film was praised by Variety reviewer Alissa Simon as “a taut, nuanced work.”
It was the Czech Republic’s official Academy Awards entry for the Best Foreign Film before being disqualified after it was broadcast as a three-part mini-series on HBO’s European channels. »
- Brent Lang
The Solution Entertainment Group is at the Cannes Film Market with the new film from American Splendor directors Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman, Ten Thousand Saints and they've released the first picture from the upcoming drama starring Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) and Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender's Game). Pulcini and Berman co-direct and wrote the script based on the novel of the same name by Eleanor Henderson. The story is described as a sweeping multi-generational story set against the backdrop of the raw, roaring New York City of the late 1980s; Adoption, teen pregnancy, drugs, hardcore punk rock, the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young--and old--are all major elements in this heart-aching tale of the son of diehard hippies and his strange odyssey through the extremes of late 20th century youth culture. Along with Hawke and Butterfield, the film co-stars Butterfield's Ender's Game co-star Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor »
- Brad Brevet
Colin Callender‘s first producing effort, a nine-hour TV adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby launched UK’s Channel 4 and won him his first Emmy in 1983. After a stint as an independent producer in his native Britain, Callender joined HBO where he shepherded films and miniseries like Angels In America, John Adams, Maria Full Of Grace and American Splendor to the tune of 104 Emmy Awards, 29 Golden Globes, 3 Oscars, and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Since leaving HBO in 2008, he has kept a low profile. Having started his career in theater, as stage manager at London’s Royal Court Theatre, Callender returned to his roots and built a theater slate during a break from television because of a three-year non-compete with HBO. His first play ever as a producer was Nora Ephron‘s Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
I miss bookstores. Being able to walk up and down the aisles, pulling out a title that sounds intriguing, perusing the dust jacket flap, sometimes sitting down on the floor and reading the first couple of pages…just killing a couple of hours lost in a bibliophile’s heaven.
Okay, bookstores aren’t entirely gone, but they are, as everyone knows, on the endangered list. My own first hint of this came about 15 years ago when the Borders in the Short Hills Mall closed up. It was astonishing—this was a bookstore that was always mobbed, no matter the time of day. Many, many people objected to the closing, and many, many people let the mall’s management know it; the customer service desk clerk told me, as I filled out the complaint form, that there were over 3,000 signatures in the first week alone protesting the shutdown, and demanding, if not the return of Borders, »
- Mindy Newell
Comic book movies are often seen as the domain of spandex-clad demigods who battle moustache-twirling villains, but if 300 and Sin City - which both originated on the pages of Frank Miller works - are anything to go by they're not essential to telling a great story.
With sequels to 300 and Sin City incoming, we take a look at 8 great examples of comic book-inspired films with no superheroes in sight.
Sin City (2005)
Co-directed by comic creator Miller and digital filmmaking pioneer Robert Rodriguez, this adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, with the filmmakers shooting actors on green screen and rendering the locations - almost exactly how they appeared on the page - in post-production.
Ghost World (2001)
Long before he was jousting with Shia Labeouf, comics »
Feature James Hunt 30 Jan 2014 - 06:25
Comic book movies are solid blockbuster fare now, but there are plenty of adaptations that didn't get the love they deserved...
You might argue that fans of comic book adaptations have had a pretty good decade or so. Between The Avengers movies, the Dark Knight trilogy, and multiple Spider-Man and X-Men films, some of the biggest-grossing action movies of all time have been based on comics. Not bad when you consider that only recently, the medium was considered the preserve of dateless man-children alone.
But here's the thing: not every comic book adaptation lends itself to being a summer tentpole CGI-fest, and just as many get overlooked or forgotten completely by the time the next one comes out. Comic adaptations are coming out thick and fast, and with so much forward momentum it's sometimes worth taking a moment to look back on what's come before. »
• Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County) and Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) have joined the coming-of-age pic Ten Thousand Saints, set in the ’80s in New York City’s Lower East Side. American Splendor directing team Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman have assembled a fairly big cast for the project including Ethan Hawke, Emile Hirsch, and Ender’s Game co-stars Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld. Mortimer will be playing Hawke’s girlfriend and Steinfeld’s mother, while Nicholson has been cast as Hawke’s ex-wife and mother of Butterfield. [THR]
- Lindsey Bahr
Production began Monday with the directing team of Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman (“American Splendor”). Producers are Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas for Archer Gray Productions, Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray for Maven Pictures, and Luca Borghese.
“Ten Thousand Saints,” set in the Lower East Side of New York City in the 1980s, follows three screwed up young people and their equally screwed up parents.
Mortimer will play the mother of Steinfeld’s character and Nicholson will portray the ex-wife of Hawke’s character and the mother of Butterfield’s charachter.
Mortimer is repped by ICM, »
- Dave McNary
Emily Mortimer and Julianne Nicholson have joined the cast of Ten Thousand Saints, an adaptation of the Eleanor Henderson novel being directed by Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman, the directing duo behind American Splendor. Ethan Hawke, Emile Hirsch, Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld are already on board the production, which began shooting Monday in New York. Story: Emily Mortimer Comedy Lands at HBO Saints is set in New York's Lower East Side in the 1980s and is a coming-of-age story that follows three screwed-up young people and their equally screwed-up parents in the age of Cbgb's,
- Borys Kit
‘Whiplash’: Sundance Film Festival Awards’ rare double winner (photo: Miles Teller in ‘Whiplash’) Directed by Damien Chazelle — and acquired for domestic distribution by Sony Pictures Classics — Whiplash won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. The story of a young, ambitious 19-year-old drummer (played by 26-year-old Miles Teller) under the tutelage of a ruthless teacher (J.K. Simmons), Whiplash also features Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, and Damon Gupton. Whiplash‘s double Sundance Film Festival win is quite rare. Previous such instances in Sundance’s three-decade history include Tony Bui’s Three Seasons in 1999, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s Quinceañera in 2006, Lee Daniels’ Precious in 2009, and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station last year. Of these, Precious is — somewhat surprisingly — the only Sundance double winner to have succeeded both at the domestic box office and during awards season, »
- Andre Soares
I can testify that when you go to a film festival, and someone inquires about how the movies were that year, the answer you end up giving — “Really terrific!” “Lousy!” “They were okay!” — is often dictated by exactly one movie. If you saw something that totally knocked you out, the sort of film that you think is going to get major play in the real world, and you’re already dusting off a place on your 10 Best list for it, then that one movie can determine your entire perception of the festival. That’s what happened to me last year »
- Owen Gleiberman
We’ve got a few interesting casting stories to get to this afternoon. Briefly: Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be leading the next live-action feature from director Robert Zemeckis, the biopic To Reach the Clouds. Emile Hirsch has joined the young ensemble cast of American Splendor directors Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman’s coming-of-age indie Ten Thousand Saints. Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave) has joined the impressive cast of Todd Haynes’ latest film Carol. Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned films and casting. The folks over at Twitch are reporting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will take the lead of director Robert Zemeckis’ memoir adaptation To Reach the Clouds. The film tells the story of high wire walker Philippe Petit, the subject of the 2008 documentary Man on Wire. Further information is unknown, but this could very well serve as Zemeckis’ follow-up to Flight. Additionally, Variety reports that Emile Hirsch will join Asa Butterfield »
- Adam Chitwood
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